The Black Cat

The Black Cat (Reposted on April 15, 2021)

This one was probably 45 or 50 years ago, when the kids were young. We all liked

cats and had several of them. Also, it seemed that when anyone dumped a cat in

the neighborhood it ended up at our house.

One day, this young, black tomcat showed up. He had a beautiful, shiny, black

coat and a sunny disposition as well. He seemed very smart and loved to be held

and petted. We took him in and thought that since we already had too many cats

we should try to find a home for him.

Over the next few days we all enjoyed having this guy around but discovered that

when it was time for a bowel movement he would always do his job in the

fireplace rather than the litter box. We kept our eyes open and if any of us

spotted him heading for the fireplace we would grab him and deposit in the litter

box. We tried for several days to teach him, but it just wasnt working. That

settled it, and we decided there was no way we could keep him. He had to go.

Soon after, Pat was at work and one of the men said that his wife and kids were

bugging him to get a kitten. Pat says Weve got a beautiful young male, only a

few months old that was dropped off in our neighborhood. Hes got a beautiful

black coat and loves kids and loves lots of attention.Her co-worker says he

sounds perfect and Id like to have him.So, the next day, Pat takes the cat to

work and gives him to the guy. A few days later, she sees the guy and asks him

how the cat is doing. Oh, he says, hes such a beautiful cat and we all just love

him!Then, he says, There is one thing…” Pat tries to look cool and unknowing as

she asks What would that be?” “Well, says the guy, we cant keep him from

crapping in the fireplace!

Dave Thomas

7/13/2014

From The Older Guy

Don’t get me wrong. I love my doctors. They keep me patched up and able to enjoy life with my wife, Pat, and my kids, grand-kids, and great grand-kids. However, it is sometimes necessary to bring a few things to their attention. Here are a couple of those items:

The heaviest door you will ever encounter today (and the hardest one to open) will be the door to your doctor’s office. It doesn’t matter if you are old and disabled, or if you are on crutches, you may need some help.

And here’s another observation: If you can read the telephone numbers on your eye doctor’s business card or appointment card, you may not need the guy. Graphics designers, with the approval of your doctor, will put the phone number in the smallest type size possible. It may be just me, but I thought a person would be looking for an eye doctor’s phone number because they have a vision problem. I thought I had died and gone to heaven at the Fort Worth Retina Specialist’s office when I saw that the phone number on the business card was the biggest thing on the card, and I could read it

Dave Thomas

04/07/2021

The Palette is Changing

The Palette Is Changing

Apparently there are some organizations that are worried about the color of our skin. Not to worry, guys, as a solution is forthcoming.

As I understand it, the human race had its origins in Ethiopia. I guess that means we all started out as black folks. As we dispersed throughout the world, our skin colors changed, mostly due to environmental factors. Don’t worry about our differences as a large change is under way. The amazing increase in the number of interracial marriages means that in a few generations, we will all be the same color again…. A beautiful chocolate brown or perhaps a rich golden tan.

Dave Thomas

3/30/2021

We Need Some Preachin’

We Need Some Preachin’

Like most of you, I have been totally disgusted with the events of the past four years. It’s been all about power,  greed, hate, and a complete disrespect of others. It makes me wonder if anyone has heard of the Golden Rule. Nowadays, it seems to be all me, me, me. When I was growing up, we were reminded constantly of the Golden Rule, and how it should be practiced in our everyday lives. Our parents, teachers, and Sunday School teachers reminded us over and over again: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If this isn’t an exact quote, don’t worry about it. The message is there.

Dave Thomas

3/18/2021

Company for Breakfast

Pat and I had gotten up just a few minutes before and were just sitting down at the

kitchen table with a cup of coffee. We heard a noise outside and Pat got up and opened

the curtains. There was a donkey with his lips almost against the window. He must have

been as startled as we because he cut loose with Hee-Haw, Hee-Haw and it was loud

enough to shake the house! We recognized the donkey as the pet of the Noble family

that lived several houses up the hill from us.

We had been visited by the donkey a couple of times before. We had a Shetland pony

for the kids that we kept in a corral next to our back fence. In the previous visits the

donkey had come down the back fence- line but for some reason this time he had come

down the street. I had my jeans on and was wearing flip-flops or thongs or shower shoes

or whatever you call them. I went out to the shed and got a lead rope and came back

and snapped it onto the halter the donkey was wearing. I headed for the street to take

him home and he was well-mannered and led on a slack rein, walking beside my

shoulder.

We got to the street and started up the hill but it was tough going for me. The asphalt

streets in our development had been sealed a couple of days before and then a fine

layer of sand had been spread on them. The footing wasnt that good and I kept

scooping up sand with my flip-flops. I was relieved when we got up the hill to the

Nobles house. However, about this time, the donkey must have realized he was almost

home and he snorted and whirled around and started running back down the hill. I dug

in my heels and yelled Whoaas I held onto the end of the lead rope. It was a wasted

effort! That donkey was going downhill as fast as he could go and I was out on the end of

that rope with my heels dug in and looking like a water skier on a slalom course. Our

wild ride finally got us to the bottom of the hill and as we got to our house, I could see

Pat in her pajamas and housecoat out in the front yard pointing at us and laughing like a

crazy woman. The donkey stopped and I looked back up the hill and here comes Noble,

laughing. He was kind enough to say that he had seen the donkey escape but had to get

dressed before he could come out. As you have read, I got no respect at all. It may have

been caused by the donkey but I made a complete ass of myself.

Dave Thomas

7/13/2014 (Repost on 3/11/21)

Not Much Today

I don’t have a story today. For the next couple of minutes, you might want to try one of these:

  1. Give thanks for blessings received.
  2. Say a prayer for someone who needs it
  3. Whistle a happy tune
  4. Zone out.

Dave Thomas

3/5/2021

Augusta, Kansas: Part 12 of 12- Give It a Try

This has been an interesting project and a lot of fun for me. I had been thinking about my home town and some of the people in it, and began to wonder just how much I could remember of my younger days. In an effort to quantify the project or put some kind of bounds on it, I decided to consider the business district and the years 1945, when I was 9, through 1957, when I was 20. I’m sure that I mixed up the locations of some stores and misspelled some names. What surprises me, is that after 70 or 75 years, how much I remembered about the shopkeepers, their spouses, their families, where they lived, what kinds of cars they drove, and a lot of other little things. I knew the people that ran almost every store in town, and they knew me. It always a pleasure to go downtown, and the people I saw were pretty decent folks.

There were a lot more people to know in our small town. The largest employer in town was the Mobil Refinery. I’ll bet that by the time I was 12, I could stand by the gate at quitting time and identify more than half the men as they came out.

Augusta served as a bedroom community for the aviation industry of Wichita. Some of our townspeople worked at Beech, Boeing, and Cessna. All of this helped add to our circle of acquaintances.

Our town was also surrounded by family farms, and I was privileged to know a lot of those families as well. For instance, Glen Chalmers went to a country school in his early years, but I looked forward to seeing him and his parents and sister at Sunday School and church every week.

Flexing your memory and cleaning out the rust can be a fun thing to do.

Dave Thomas

3/3/2021

Augusta, Kansas: Part 11 of 12, State Street, 300 Block

Crossing 3rd Avenue and heading south on the west side, you find Mr. Jackson’s lot. He was a mechanic that seemed to limit his clientele. There never seemed to be more than one car at his place at a time. He and his wife were both pleasant people.

Next, was Howard Motors, a Chevrolet and Buick dealership. The company was owned by Ray Howard. Jack Parker reminded me that I forgot to mention that Howard Motors started out in the 600 block of State Street at the location next occupied by Mr. Blowey and his Augusta Hardware. I think Howard Motors moved into the new location in 1950 or 1951. I began working for them at the new location in the summer of 1952. I got to know the Howard’s pretty well. Ray sang with my Dad in the Augusta Elks Barbershop Quartet. Ray and Veda had 3 kids, Connie, Jackie, and Bill. Bill (William Ray Howard, Jr.) was a friend and classmate. Kenneth Markley was Service Manager and drove the wrecker. Kenny Dickinsen was Shop Foreman and Head Mechanic. Frank Prosser was a mechanic. Hank Funkey was also a mechanic. Phil Harding (brother of Cliff Harding at Scholfield-Hurst Motors) was Parts Manager. Betty Harrison worked in the office. Merle Canfield and Budd Nutter were salesmen. In late 1954 or early 1955, Ray Howard sold to George L. Findley, and it became the George L. Findley Chevrolet Company. George and his wife had come from Wichita. They had a daughter. They bought the David Allison house on Washington Lane. George hired Max Blackwelder, a CPA, to handle the financing and insurance components of the business. I think that during this period, Doug Sawtelle was in charge of the body shop for a time.

Next is the log cabin, the Augusta Historical Society Museum. I’ve already talked about this. I’m glad it’s still there and that it is being well cared for by the Director and the Board.

Next, go across the street to the east side. The only business over there was Crooks Cleaners, a dry cleaning shop owned by Jim Crooks. He was a very nice guy, and he had a son, also named Jim.

Dave Thomas

1/11/2021

Augusta, Kansas: Part 10 of 12, 3rd Avenue

Going east from State Street on 3rd, the only business I can remember is Manka’s. I can’t think of the correct name. It may have been Manka Feed or Manka Produce. Mr. and Mrs. Manka bought eggs from the local farmers and re-sold them. I think they also sold chicken feed and other products for farmers. The Manka’s had a daughter, Shirley, who was a friend and classmate. I was talking with my cousin, Jack Wilson, a few years ago, and he recalled that when he was old enough to get his driver’s license, it became his job to drive the eggs to Manka’s. In an exchange of emails a few years ago, Shirley told me she still had the device that she and her folks had used to candle the eggs. Shirley is still with us, and I believe is still living in Texas.

Dave Thomas

02/09/2021

 

Augusta, Kansas: Part 9 of 12, State Street, 400 Block, East Side

Crossing 5th Avenue and heading south on the east side of State Street, we first encounter a 2-story, white stucco building on that southeast corner of State and 5th. My first remembrance is that this was Hudson’s Department Store, operated by a lady named Florence Hudson. I remember my Mom taking me in there one time to buy a pair of bib overalls. This was real grownup attire for a grade school kid. For a few years, Mamie Hall had her book store at this location before moving up to the next block. Now, we come to the important stuff about this location. I believe that the address here is 432 State. My Mom told me that I was born in an upstairs apartment, but never told me the address or what store it was above. I was at least 60 years old before looking at my birth certificate and having it register that my birth address was 432 ½ State Street. I’ve had some thoughts of petitioning the Chamber of Commerce to install a bronze plaque on the wall of the building saying, “Dave Thomas was born here.” However, I’m realistic enough to know that the plaque would probably say, “Dave Thomas was born here. So, what?”

Next, we have Chisman Shoe Repair, owned by Jesse Chisman. Jessie’s wife was in the store on most days, taking care of the customers. I don’t remember seeing Jesse without a smile on his face. The Chisman’s had a daughter who was a couple of years older than me. I think her name was Shirley. Jesse was a brother to Jim Chisman, a mechanic, who I think worked for Martin Brothers Motors. Jim and Anna Chisman had a son, Robert, who was a couple of years older and married my classmate, Mary Burch.

Next were the offices of a young CPA named Dick Maddox. He and his wife were nice, friendly people.

Next was Lovellettes Furniture. I remember that my Mom liked this couple.

Next was Southwest Bell, the telephone Company. This was where the operators worked, back when we had operators.

I think next was the old theater. It had been closed for years. I think Mrs. Bisagno played piano for the silent movies here.

Next, I think, was Elerick’s Cleaners. Frank Elerick had died, but I got to know his widow, Pearl, as she was a good friend of my Aunt Rachel. Pearl lived a block over on School Street across from the old Coca Cola building.

The bowling alley was along here, somewhere. I tried bowling a few times and enjoyed it, but never got hooked on it.

I can’t remember what the last businesses were. Guess my brain is giving out.

Dave Thomas

2/3/2021